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Tusk

Tusk (2014)
Rated R

Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, and Haley Joel Osment

Rating:
*1/2
out of
*****

Have you ever watched a film and thought afterwards that you'd just witnessed someone's idea of a prank? That's how I felt after watching Kevin Smith's Tusk.

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is an American podcaster who, along with his assistant, Teddy (Haley Joel Osment,) brings his listeners "real and raunchy" humor every week by interviewing hapless individuals he finds online. When his most recent interview subject - a man who cut off his own leg imitating sword play from Kill Bill - dies from his injuries, Wallace finds himself in the middle of the Canadian countryside desperate to find someone interesting to interview for his next show.

While in the bathroom of a bar, Wallace spies a handbill from a man offering free room and board to anyone willing to come and listen to his adventure stories. Seeing this as an opportunity to save this week's show, Wallace calls the number on the flyer and travels to meet Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a strange, reclusive man who lives in a large house in Bifrost, Manitoba.

Mr. Howe regales Wallace with bizarre tales of meeting with Hemingway at D-Day, hunting a great white shark in the Chukchi Sea, and, in his most unusual story, being saved by a walrus when his ship struck an iceberg and sank. Wallace is intrigued but cannot stay awake. He finally passes out and awakens to find himself missing his left leg. It seems the Mr. Howe is not simply an old man with tales to tell. He also wants to create a human version of his walrus savior.

Kevin Smith gets some surprisingly compelling performances considering the whacked-out subject matter. I wondered where someone would get an idea to make a film like this, especially someone of Kevin Smith's caliber. It turns out I was right to think this was a joke.

Sticking around through the end credits, I found that the idea came from one of Smith's own podcasts. Smith and Scott Mosier, his longtime friend and associate, came up with the idea as a joke and asked their listeners to vote on whether it should be turned into a movie or not. The fact that I am writing this review is proof positive that Smith no longer is an inspired filmmaker but a spoiled rich kid who makes movies on a whim simply because he can.

Tusk is neither funny nor disturbing. It's just disappointing.

Trivia: In this film, there is a character called the "Kill Bill Kid." The character Howard Howe is played by Michael Parks, who was also in both of Taratino's "Kill Bill" films. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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